Visitor satisfaction in wilderness in times of overtourism: a longitudinal study

Anna Dóra Sæþórsdóttir*, C. Michael Hall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Developing a better understanding of visitor perceptions and satisfaction is integral to gaining insights into the pressures that lead to both overtourism and the under-utilisation of tourist attractions, including natural areas. Despite longstanding recognition of their value in monitoring and evaluating change there is a dearth of longitudinal studies in tourism. This study examines changing patterns of visitor use and satisfaction over time at Landmannalaugar, an internationally recognised wilderness area, in Iceland, a country which has been one of the focal points of concern as to the effects of overtourism. A questionnaire survey has been conducted in Landmannalaugar in the summers of 2000, 2009 and 2019 using the same questionnaire and distributed by the same method. Visitor satisfaction fell over the study period and crowding issues became much more important to tourists over time. Despite being based on a single site the research highlights the importance of long-term monitoring for visitor and site management as well as developing a better understanding of concepts of change in natural area tourism management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-141
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank The Iceland Touring Association (Ferðafélag Íslands) for financial support, Edita Tverijonaite and Margrét Wendt for their assistance with data collection, David Ostman for cartography and Þorkell Stefánsson as well as Ævar Þórólfsson at the Social Science Research Institute, University of Iceland for statistical assistance.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Other keywords

  • crowding
  • Iceland
  • Longitudinal research
  • overtourism
  • visitor satisfaction
  • wilderness


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